Elite: Dangerous brings a modern look and new features to the Elite Franchise. It is also the first game in the series to feature online multiplayer.
Elite: Dangerous takes place in the same universe as Frontier: Elite 2 and Frontier: First Encounters, 50 years after the events of FFE, in the year 3300AD - 3301AD. The Thargoid race, introduced in earlier games, will also appear.
Elite: Dangerous builds upon the foundations of the previous Elite titles, but aims to expand these ideas to a modern context.
Multiplayer vs Solo Edit
The player may choose from the following: Solo Play, Private Channels (only friends or invited people will be encountered), or Open Play. In open play, you may be matched with any other player who is also in open play and happens to be on the same server.
The game works in a seamless, lobby-less way, with the ability to rendezvous with friends as the player chooses. This technology is already working and has been tested since the early betas, using a combination of peer-to-peer (to reduce lag) and server connections.
Depending on the player's chosen configuration, some of the other ships they meet as they travel around are real players as opposed to computer-controlled ships. It may be a friend the player has agreed to rendezvous with there, or it may be another real player that has been encountered by chance.
All players are part of a “Pilot’s Federation” – that is how they are distinguished from non-players – allowing players to differentiate between who player and non-player easily. The radar is used to distinguish a real player from a ship controlled by the computer. A player will show as a hollow square or triangle (indicating stowed or deployed hardpoints) while a ship controlled by the computer will appear as either a solid square or triangle.
Evolving Universe Edit
Unlike previous games, in Elite: Dangerous the milky way galaxy will evolve. As players explore, the different factions will be seen to spread to further star systems, colonizing planets and building space stations. Players can participate in this process by completing missions for a particular faction to increase their influence in that system. This can eventually lead to war which players can then continue to help their chosen faction by participating in it. In addition to war, players can also influence minor star system factions in other ways such as causing an economic boom.
New star ports will be slowly built in real time. These events will create opportunities for players as the resources and workers required for building will need to be transported and there will no doubt be related military missions and scope for increased piracy.
Procedural Content Edit
Procedural generation of content is a technique where content is generated from rules. It abstracts repetitive or arbitrary elements of content creation in a very efficient way.
Imagine a medieval landscape. Laying out towns, roads, castles, farm land, forests and so on can be done by a system of rules – putting castles widely spaced out on vantage points, towns near rivers but under the protection of such a castle, roads between them, then with farm land to support them all. An artist can still design the castle, the houses in the towns, but this approach greatly magnifies the content that can be created. “Frontier” did this for the star systems, and planets, and with Elite: Dangerous, Frontier Developments will go further.
Destructible Ship Models Edit
Larger ships will have multiple shield generators which can be targeted and will fail individually. This will add an extra level of skill where attackers can inflict hull damage by firing weapons at a single point and the prey navigates in a way that draws fire to working shields.
The operating shield radius on very large ships will also allow for very small fighters to be able to sneak under them and cause immediate damage to the hull.
Unlike previous Elite games where ships would simply explode once the hull integrity hit zero, the ship models will be divided into sections so that damage will be localized to where weapon fire impacts. This means that, for example, the cargo hold can be exposed (shedding cargo) but thrusters, hyperdrives, and weapons would not be affected.
Once a ship has been targeted, a subsystem can be specifically targeted, making it possible to attack specific modules to cause desired malfunctions. Frontier Developments have already hinted at future updates allowing for boarding of ships.
Player Roles Edit
Unlike RPGs, players in Elite Dangerous will not choose their role by customising their character. Instead, the choice and customisation of their ship will be geared towards specific role(s). Examples cited are Trader, Miner, Explorer, Bounty Hunter and Pirate. However hybrid roles or new roles may be possible through updates or emergent gameplay e.g. mining.
In order to allow each player to explore each role they are able to own multiple ships and each can be customised to fill a certain role. When not in use a ship is stored in a station and can be retrieved by returning to that station at any time.
Trading EditTrading in previous games was limited to a relatively small number of different commodities such as hydrogen fuel, precious metals, computers etc.
Traders in Elite: Dangerous have access to a large number of commodities both legal and illegal. Also present are "rare commodities" that are unique to a specific star system and increase in value the further from their origin they are sold.
Instead of static prices per star systems, stockmarkets will now respond to events going on in the vicinity such as war, famine, blockades etc. This creates the opportunity for players to "game" the stockmarkets by controlling supply and demand.
It won't just be commodities that can be traded. Game items can also be bought and sold, such as maps and permits. Players are also able to smuggle goods, needing to use precise management of heat in order to slip past station security forces.
A useful tactic for player roles involving combat. While travelling faster than light through a star system ships are able to be pulled back into real space by a ship equipped with a Frame Shift Drive Interdictor. This allows security forces, pirates, and bounty hunters to interact with other ships while travelling faster than light. Once initiated a mini-game will start forcing both players to concentrate on a single point at the center of their screens and hold it there to either succeed in pulling the other ship out into real space or escaping interdiction. This mechanic is demonstrated in this video.
Players are able to steal cargo from other ships using a variety of means. They can employ hatch-breakers which when fired at an un-shielded target will latch onto the cargo hatch and extract cargo canisters from it. In addition, once shields have been dropped a player can shoot the cargo hatch manually to damage it which will have the same effect but in most cases takes more skill. Once stolen cargo has been scooped it can be smuggled and sold on the black market at stations and outposts that feature one.
Various combat events (e.g. performing tight turns, firing weapons) heat up the ship's hull, which will make the ship easier to be spotted on scanners, which in turn will make it easier for Pirates and bounty hunters to locate such ships. This means that players will be able to detect on-going battles and join in. David Braben has hinted at the ability for combatants to communicate with ships in the vicinity to "do deals". This may mean that the player may get a share of the profits if they save a trader from pirates or get a share in the loot if they don't mind getting a bounty on their head.
Bounty Hunting Edit
Throughout the galaxy players will encounter computer controlled ships and other players that have fallen to a life of crime. Once scanned a player is able to see the current bounty issued to another commander. If destroyed in combat the player will receive a voucher that they can redeem at a station or outpost controlled by the faction that issued the bounty to get the reward.
As a result of this, many criminals seek refuge in systems with an anarchy status. Anarchy systems are not controlled by the Empire, Federation, Alliance, or an independent government and instead are ruled by a splinter faction. However, players are able to scan other ships in these systems with a kill warrant scanner in order to see if they are wanted in any other systems. Upon destroying them they will be able to travel to the system the bounty was issued in and claim it.
Players are able to mine resources from planetary ring systems and asteroid belts in orbit around stars. Once a mining laser and refinery module is equipped the player can fire at a suitable asteroid and use his cargo scoop to collect the raw materials. They can then be sold to a station or outpost on the commodities market.
Fuel Scooping Edit
With a fuel scoop equipped a ship is able to gather fuel from certain types of stars. As the player needs to remain relatively close to the star in order to capture fuel from it, a careful balance between fuel scooped per second and heat gained needs to be observed. Fuel scoops can be upgraded in order to capture more fuel per second thereby speeding up the process. This is the life-blood of an explorer as once the boundaries of colonized space is left there are no stations or outposts left to refuel at.
Previous games tried to obey the laws of physics to a certain extent. This meant conventional thrusters were limited by the laws of relativity i.e. players could not travel faster than light within a star system. Frontier: Elite II used the Stardreamer feature as a realism/gameplay trade-off.
However, such a mechanism would not work in a multiplayer game, so Elite Dangerous features faster than light travel using hyperspace. Each ship comes equipped with a frame shift drive that allows them to travel to faster than light within a star system and to others. These drives can be upgraded to increase their range allowing for faster travel around the galaxy and long range exploration.
Landing On PlanetsEdit
Frontier Developments took the decision to implement landing on planets as a future update. This gives them more time to implement a significant feature in a manner that they're happy with. Players will still be able to skim the atmosphere to scoop gases. For an insight into the rich experience planned for atmospheres, watch the procedural generation video above.
Ships can be customized to give the player control over the strengths and weaknesses of each. Modules within each ship are customized to affect how the ship performs and functions. Thrusters, sensors, frame shift drives, power plants, and more can all be upgraded to affect this. All customization takes place in the the outfitting screen when docked at a station or outpost.
Weapon hardpoints on a ship can be either stowed or deployed. Other players in your vicinity have their weapons stowed your scanner will indicate a square symbol, this changes to a triangle when their weapons are deployed. NPC craft have solid squares/triangles, real players (Cmdrs) symbols are hollow.
There is going to be a vast improvement in astrophysics. David Braben has confirmed the inclusion of new encounters with comets, black holes and quasars.
David Braben, in an interview with PCGamesN indicated that Elite: Dangerous will be set in a procedurally generated Milky Way with over 400 billion solar systems, including our own. In addition each system could have up to 100 objects, leading to plenty of opportunities for the player.
Features in the expansionsEdit
After release several features will be added to Elite: Dangerous. Some of these were available in previous editions of the game and some new to this one.